A Crash Course to Building a Millennial Friendly Employer Brand

February 23, 2015

If you’re struggling to hire millennials, the problem could be your employer brand. You may be putting out the wrong type of messaging — awkward stock photos featuring people in stuffy suits, job descriptions that convey a stifling atmosphere, and ‘career page’ copy that seems ‘old school’ or downright condescending. If something looks ‘off,’ millennials will notice and steer clear of your organization.

To succeed in reaching and recruiting millennials, you need to develop an employer brand that resonates with twenty and thirty-something job seekers. Here are three tips to guide you.

1. Make it easy to research your company

A lot of people stereotype millennials as lazy, narcissistic, and a huge pain in the workforce. They’ve been branded the ‘me, me, me’ generation — raised by helicopter parents who, to this day, crash their twenty-something kids’ job interviews.

The blunt truth, however, is that millennials are master learners and researchers. In their personal lives, they are avid readers of product reviews and rely heavily on peer referrals through social media. After all, millennials are the most educated U.S. age group and know how to find the information that they need to make an informed decision.

A job description alone won’t be enough to communicate your company’s awesomeness. Your recruiting team needs to build a comprehensive platform with employee testimonials and case studies. You can publish this information on your own website or work with your PR team to reach popular media channels.

For inspiration, check out the following Business Insider article about working at Lululemon.  The article features an anonymous Q&A with an employee who speaks freely and authentically about her experiences — the good and the bad.


This realistic perspective helps candidates make an informed decision about whether or not they should apply to work at the company. Give job seekers plenty of resources — employee testimonials, ‘on-the-job’ guides, and write-ups in the press. Be objective, and you’ll gain your millennial audience’s trust.

2. Communicate with empowering, personable language

Ambitious millennials are extremely afraid of ending up in stifling, dead-end roles. They’re looking for opportunities to challenge themselves and advance as quickly as possible. While they’re willing to be patient, they aren’t going to want to wait five years for their first promotion. Not to mention, they don’t want to be stuck in a stuffy workplace culture where they’ll need to keep their personalities and sense of humor quiet.

When writing job and company descriptions, let candidates know that their contributions will be valued — that they should feel comfortable being themselves and that they will have opportunities awaiting them, regardless of age.

One company that exemplifies this approach is Iowa-based Higher Learning Technologies, an education technology startup that creates test prep software for dental, nursing, and medical students. In just a few sentences — without bells and whistles — the team communicates a strong commitment to the development of its people.


3. Be real

Resist the urge to use stock photos, and don’t feel pressured to create professional-grade videos. Millennials want to know what’s real and that your brand’s self-image is an authentic representation of its true identity.

It may be tempting for recruiters and HR professionals to write exaggerated, flowery company reviews and to mask any flaws that might be happening behind the scenes.

Don’t do this — smart millennials are astute enough to recognize patterns of inauthenticity. In fact, they’ll be majorly turned off by and skeptical of something that looks ‘too’ perfect.

Managers and recruiters should feel comfortable with vulnerability. No workplace is perfect, and millennials won’t hold a few imperfections against an otherwise wonderful opportunity. Embrace — and work to overcome — your flaws, while building a brand image that truly resonates with you.

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